Lawn Dogs ★★★½

An odd little film, but enjoyable. It's about the friendship of two misfits - a 10 year old girl who doesn't quite into the materialistic suburban (think McMansions) world of her parents, and the working-class lawn guy in his 20s who cuts her parents' lawn in their gated community. And no, it's not actually as creepy as it sounds, although there are many sexual overtones throughout the film.

The dominant themes is about social class, but there is also a magical fairy-tale quality to the film. The girl has a preoccupation with Slavic witch story Baba Yaga, and it drives both the beginning and the end of the film. The denizens of the gated community (the girls' parents, the neighbors and the privileged young men) are somewhat stereotypical in how clueless and bigoted they present. This initially has a satiric edge but leaves those characters rather one-dimensional, especially the girl's mother and father.

This is one of Sam Rockwell's best performances, and he is an actor I usually like. It's a fairly typical role for him, but he does it masterfully.
The young girl is played by newcomer (at the time) Mischa Barton. This was her first film role and she is surprisingly good, at times being the ironic and offbeat outsider but then reverting to a scared 10 year old who is bewildered at the troubling behavior of the adults around her. And I liked the magical ending, which had mixed responses from other reviewers.

So not a great film, but well done and worth seeing. It is available for free streaming through Amazon Prime.